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Apple's Jony Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson go in-depth on (RED) auction pieces

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
In an in-depth interview with Charlie Rose, Apple's Ive and design superstar Newson riff on what makes good design so challenging, and why they chose the items up for bid in the pair's (RED) charity auction.

Red
Apple's Mac Pro in red as seen at Sotheby's upcoming (RED) auction.


The Charlie Rose Show interview, which airs tonight, digs deep into Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive and designer Marc Newson's thoughts about the upcoming charity auction. The full interview is now online.

As with a teaser made for the Sotheby's auction, Ive and Newson explained the beauty of simplicity. They both agree that great design melts away, making the designers of the best pieces difficult to distinguish.

The collection Ive and Newson curated are all things they would want to bid on, Ive said. Each item is a tool of some kind, not an end in itself, which to Ive is the highest form of design.



Earlier this week, AppleInsider was able to take a "hands-off" look at the collection.

While most of the 44 pieces are donated, Ive and Newson collaborated on a few of their own designs, including an aluminum desk, a Leica digital camera and Apple's new Mac Pro. Other items have been customized with flourishes of red, such as a Range Rover, a window from the Space Shuttle sitting in a bespoke stand, and an Hermes saddle, among others.

Bidding for "Jony and Marc's (RED) Auction" begins on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Sotheby's New York. Proceeds will go to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
post #2 of 49
I've got a whole grand set aside to buy that Mac Pro... I've got that sucker sewed up!
post #3 of 49

That was a great interview, watched it twice. The interviewer started off trying to put trite words in to their mouths, to create a story he knew the audience would love, but when they started really talking, offering their real opinions, he had the experience/expertise to back off and just let them talk.

 

I really like the culture of quality they were talking about, about taking care in your work. It's something you notice when you go to poor foreign countries, namely, everything is junk. The objects are junk. And it's easy to just dismiss it, and say things are junk because the people are poor, and that's all they can afford. But maybe it's not poverty causing junk, maybe it's poverty and junk both being caused by something earlier, a culture of lack of care and attention to detail.

post #4 of 49
Quote:


 a window from the Space Shuttle sitting in a bespoke stand
 

 

I know Macrumors is a UK site, but I didn't realize that about AI.  

 

I would bet that 99.9% of Americans have no idea what bespoke means in this situation.  I've been living in Europe (but not the UK) for 10 years and never heard the term until a few months ago (from a Brit).    "Custom made" can be understood by anyone who speaks English...why not use that?

post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post

I know Macrumors is a UK site, but I didn't realize that about AI.  

I would bet that 99.9% of Americans have no idea what bespoke means in this situation.  I've been living in Europe (but not the UK) for 10 years and never heard the term until a few months ago (from a Brit).    "Custom made" can be understood by anyone who speaks English...why not use that?

"Bespoke" can be understood by anyone, too, by simply using a dictionary. Expanding one's vocabulary is a worthwhile practice. Condescending one's fellows is not.

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post #6 of 49
I don't find Charlie Rose to be a particularly good interviewer. His questions never seem to start a discussion and aren't inviting conversation. They are more harassing for definitive answers to each bullet point. The conversation just seems to stop dead after each one is done.

I also feel like I'm watching the same interview with Ive over and over in different settings. There are usually at least some small unique elements though. The part that stood out for me was his explanation of obsessing over the objects, which some people don't like and might suggest is materialistic. It starts around 16:50 (the timer might default to show time left so click to see time watched):

'You can argue that someone will never see how something is finished on the inside but I think that part of the human condition is that we sense care. Sometimes it's easier to realise you sense carelessness and so much of our manufactured environment testifies to a complete lack of care. That's not about your attitude towards an object, it's about your attitude to each other.'

I found that with mobile phones years ago. There were so many manufacturers fighting for their place in the market but the products were all horrible to use. Not one phone design gave the instant satisfaction you got from using an iPhone and it was clear they didn't feel it was important enough to obsess over the user experience to provide a great service to people. Phone companies are some of the worst for this. While the obsession is over objects, they are tools in the service of people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii 
I really like the culture of quality they were talking about, about taking care in your work. It's something you notice when you go to poor foreign countries, namely, everything is junk. The objects are junk. And it's easy to just dismiss it, and say things are junk because the people are poor, and that's all they can afford. But maybe it's not poverty causing junk, maybe it's poverty and junk both being caused by something earlier, a culture of lack of care and attention to detail.

Poor foreign countries like China where Apple products are made? There are poor quality manufacturing outfits in every country, not just 'foreign' ones. Taking care takes time and when the priority is survival, there will be compromises.

Look at HTC for example. They have clearly put in a lot more effort to design nice products than Samsung and yet Samsung makes 35x their revenue. So it doesn't always pay to put in the effort unfortunately. Lower earning companies can go bankrupt if their efforts aren't rewarded.
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post

"Bespoke" can be understood by anyone, too, by simply using a dictionary. Expanding one's vocabulary is a worthwhile practice. Condescending one's fellows is not.

Please use said dictionary to look up condescending. Nothing in my post matches that definition. I'm merely asking why a US based site would choose to use a word that is unique to a different country when it isn't needed. A British English dictionary shouldn't be required to read the post.
post #8 of 49
If the caravan trailer is the one shown in the video, then it looks like shit. It was dented in a couple of places, and the inside was just ugly.
post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post
 

 

I know Macrumors is a UK site, but I didn't realize that about AI.  

 

I would bet that 99.9% of Americans have no idea what bespoke means in this situation.  I've been living in Europe (but not the UK) for 10 years and never heard the term until a few months ago (from a Brit).    "Custom made" can be understood by anyone who speaks English...why not use that?

That's a good question. They are equally suited to the meaning and one is in ordinary use while the other is rare even outside the USA (I just spotlighted my (literature and technical) book collection and bespoke isn't used once in the sense of custom-made). 

post #10 of 49
Ive looks like he should be a bouncer in a nightclub or some celebrities body guard. But then you hear him speak and he sounds very shy and self conscious.

I stumbled across a designer who works for Ive on Instagram and boy do they have the life. Last year Apple was given an award in London and the whole design team came to collect it. Well from the pics this guy posted it seems they were there for a whole week - eating at expensive restaurants, attending Burberry fashion show, getting a private tour of Buckingham Palace along with a "royal dinner". No idea how much, if any, of this was on Apple's dime but it did make me think that Ive's allows to do pretty much whatever he wants at Apple. lol.gif
post #11 of 49
Oh dear, have you learned a new word, better have a moan up about it. We all speak the English language, try stretching yourself 1rolleyes.gif
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post


Please use said dictionary to look up condescending. Nothing in my post matches that definition. I'm merely asking why a US based site would choose to use a word that is unique to a different country when it isn't needed. A British English dictionary shouldn't be required to read the post.

Oooo, such a high crime has been committed so as to require one to look up an unfamiliar word!

Daniel Swanson

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post #13 of 49

There are beaucoup Americans whose interest in life and work, creativity extends beyond national boundaries.  There's a skill called "reading" that aids the endeavor.

post #14 of 49
Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post
"Bespoke" can be understood by anyone, too, by simply using a dictionary. Expanding one's vocabulary is a worthwhile practice. Condescending one's fellows is not.

 

Yeah, see, Boot, lift, flat, jammy dodger, nappy, butty, ladybird, rocket, rooty-tooty point-and-shooty… 

 

It’s not a difference, it’s just wrong. :p 

 

“This from the guy who says ‘come off it’ and ‘haven’t the foggiest’?”

Yes, well.

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post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post
 

 

I know Macrumors is a UK site, but I didn't realize that about AI.  

 

I would bet that 99.9% of Americans have no idea what bespoke means in this situation.  I've been living in Europe (but not the UK) for 10 years and never heard the term until a few months ago (from a Brit).    "Custom made" can be understood by anyone who speaks English...why not use that?

Moreover, the word means "made to order" which this item specifically is not.  It can't be since the purchaser isn't even known yet.  I would have used "one of a kind" instead.  Also, when someone uses a an interesting or unusual word, it should be used sparingly.  Every article here about this space shuttle piece uses "bespoke" to describe it.  Mix it up a little.

post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Ive looks like he should be a bouncer in a nightclub or some celebrities body guard. But then you hear him speak and he sounds very shy and self conscious.

I stumbled across a designer who works for Ive on Instagram and boy do they have the life. Last year Apple was given an award in London and the whole design team came to collect it. Well from the pics this guy posted it seems they were there for a whole week - eating at expensive restaurants, attending Burberry fashion show, getting a private tour of Buckingham Palace along with a "royal dinner". No idea how much, if any, of this was on Apple's dime but it did make me think that Ive's allows to do pretty much whatever he wants at Apple. lol.gif
Considering all the products he's responsible for, I think he's pretty much earned that right
post #17 of 49
Originally Posted by malax View Post
Moreover, the word means "made to order" which this item specifically is not.  It can't be since the purchaser isn't even known yet.  I would have used "one of a kind" instead.

 

Exactly. Bespoke is the past participle of bespeak, which comes from the Old English besprecan. That itself is from be- and sprecan in Old High German, meaning “to speak about”. In the modern context, you’d add a “beforehand” to that phrase, in the sense that you’re discussing something to be made. 

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post #18 of 49
once Jony paints the world red, he needs to put yellow back in my Notes app.
post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post
 

Moreover, the word means "made to order" which this item specifically is not.  It can't be since the purchaser isn't even known yet.  I would have used "one of a kind" instead.  Also, when someone uses a an interesting or unusual word, it should be used sparingly.  Every article here about this space shuttle piece uses "bespoke" to describe it.  Mix it up a little.

 

Made to order for Product Red specifically for this auction.

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post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Moreover, the word means "made to order" which this item specifically is not.  It can't be since the purchaser isn't even known yet.  I would have used "one of a kind" instead.  Also, when someone uses a an interesting or unusual word, it should be used sparingly.  Every article here about this space shuttle piece uses "bespoke" to describe it.  Mix it up a little.

I would have gone with sui generis in this particular case. Surely it's less well know than 'unique' but being Latin helps evoke an understanding of being rare, unique, and extraordinary if used in the right context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Made to order for Product Red specifically for this auction.

I agree that it's not incorrect but I also don't think it's the most correct word choice.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #21 of 49
Boring interview. These guys just regurgitated what everyone says about good design..."beauty of simplicity"...."form following function"..."attention to detail"...."caring"...etc., etc. The fact is no one can describe it. It just is. Either you have the eye for it or you don't. Like pornography, you know it when you see it.
post #22 of 49
Originally Posted by focuspuller View Post
Like pornography, you know it when you see it.

 

My design fetish is phones of a usable size. I guess that’s why I’m on the predator list; they’re “too small”.

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post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I would have gone with sui generis in this particular case. Surely it's less well know than 'unique' but being Latin helps evoke an understanding of being rare, unique, and extraordinary if used in the right context.

I always thought sui generis meant more than just unique, it meant something that is completely uncategorisable. For example if you are making a taxonomy of things and you have one or two examples that don't fit anywhere, but otherwise your scheme is perfect. The auction items are unique but still recognisable as "a camera" or "a spacesuit."

post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post
 

 

I know Macrumors is a UK site, but I didn't realize that about AI.  

 

I would bet that 99.9% of Americans have no idea what bespoke means in this situation.  I've been living in Europe (but not the UK) for 10 years and never heard the term until a few months ago (from a Brit).    "Custom made" can be understood by anyone who speaks English...why not use that?

Huh, I never knew people in the US didn't use that word.  In Australia it is used in a business context when referring to software, e.g. "Should we buy off-the-shelf or go with a bespoke solution?"

post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post
 

Moreover, the word means "made to order" which this item specifically is not.  It can't be since the purchaser isn't even known yet.  I would have used "one of a kind" instead.  Also, when someone uses a an interesting or unusual word, it should be used sparingly.  Every article here about this space shuttle piece uses "bespoke" to describe it.  Mix it up a little.

Is so. The frame is "made to order" for the window glass.

 

I like the word "bespoke" it's evocative of its age from the early 1800s, and it's nicely British. It can also be used as past tense OR as a past participle!

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post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Poor foreign countries like China where Apple products are made? There are poor quality manufacturing outfits in every country, not just 'foreign' ones. Taking care takes time and when the priority is survival, there will be compromises.

Look at HTC for example. They have clearly put in a lot more effort to design nice products than Samsung and yet Samsung makes 35x their revenue. So it doesn't always pay to put in the effort unfortunately. Lower earning companies can go bankrupt if their efforts aren't rewarded.

Yes, bad quality and good quality don't start and stop at national borders, but they do start and stop with the holding of certain ideas, and some ideas are more prevalent in certain geographical areas. And yes, China is one country where the idea of taking time and doing it right hasn't spread far and wide, but maybe the young people who work at Apple's plants will pick it up by osmosis and help to spread it around.

post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I always thought sui generis meant more than just unique, it meant something that is completely uncategorisable. For example if you are making a taxonomy of things and you have one or two examples that don't fit anywhere, but otherwise your scheme is perfect. The auction items are unique but still recognisable as "a camera" or "a spacesuit."

It does literally means "of its own kind" but I'd consider any one-off item to be of that nature. Even a plant or animal that have no other close relatives in terms of Genus or Species would still be easily classified up to least Order in a biological classification model.


PS: I wonder what organism is classified more distinct than any other in a biological scientific classification? A quick Google search doesn't appear to be helpful.

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post #28 of 49
Ive's rose gold ear pods sold for $461K. 1eek.gif
post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Ive's rose gold ear pods sold for $461K. 1eek.gif

That's crazy! I'd think that would have been one of the cheaper items, and I'm not judging that based on how much I dislike Apple's EarPods.

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post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

That's crazy! I'd think that would have been one of the cheaper items, and I'm not judging that based on how much I dislike Apple's EarPods.

Aluminum desk went for $1.6 million.
post #31 of 49
Steinway went for $1.925M
post #32 of 49
Rogifan, where are you seeing these results?


edit: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2013/null-n09014.html#&i=0

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post #33 of 49
Leica camera went for $1.8M. Not bad.

Edit: $7.7M raised so far.
Edited by Rogifan - 11/23/13 at 5:28pm
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

PS: I wonder what organism is classified more distinct than any other in a biological scientific classification? A quick Google search doesn't appear to be helpful.

Good question. Taken as a whole mankind is surely the most unique - not too many other species with cameras and spacesuits. But speaking purely biologically, maybe some strange deep sea species?

post #35 of 49
Red Mac Pro sold for $977K
post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Good question. Taken as a whole mankind is surely the most unique - not too many other species with cameras and spacesuits. But speaking purely biologically, maybe some strange deep sea species?

I'd think a deep sea creature might be too simple, unless they are of the mammalian variety. My guess would be something complex that had all other ancestors wiped out for whatever reason. The more I think of this the less absolute the answer seems. There is the phenetic classification model that only uses appearance and features but I think any classification should be specifically on DNA but I'm not certain the current taxomonic model has completely migrated to phylogenetics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Red Mac Pro sold for $977K

That better be the fastest 12-core, GPUs, and with maxed out RAM and SSD capacities.

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post #37 of 49
Finally tally was $13.1M. I think only one item sold for less the estimate.
Edited by Rogifan - 11/23/13 at 6:24pm
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I'd think a deep sea creature might be too simple, unless they are of the mammalian variety. My guess would be something complex that had all other ancestors wiped out for whatever reason. The more I think of this the less absolute the answer seems. There is the phenetic classification model that only uses appearance and features but I think any classification should be specifically on DNA but I'm not certain the current taxomonic model has completely migrated to phylogenetics.

Yes it should definitely be based on DNA these days. Once enough creatures have had their genome sequenced it should be possible to automatically generate an hierarchy with a computer program. And then maybe predict new animals we haven't seen yet like they do with the periodic table.

post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It does literally means "of its own kind" but I'd consider any one-off item to be of that nature. Even a plant or animal that have no other close relatives in terms of Genus or Species would still be easily classified up to least Order in a biological classification model.


PS: I wonder what organism is classified more distinct than any other in a biological scientific classification? A quick Google search doesn't appear to be helpful.

A tuatara?
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post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post

I know Macrumors is a UK site, but I didn't realize that about AI.  

I would bet that 99.9% of Americans have no idea what bespoke means in this situation.  I've been living in Europe (but not the UK) for 10 years and never heard the term until a few months ago (from a Brit).    "Custom made" can be understood by anyone who speaks English...why not use that?

So, with all your silly quibbling over semantics, this particular BESPOKE frame garnered $847,000 at auction. A bespoke by any other name would smell as sweet, would it not?

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